The following touching devotional is the real-life testimonial of one of Lamb & Lion Ministries’ trustees, Don O’Donnel. Don and his wife, Pat, are now retired from the police force and Don’s studying to become a minister.
Let me tell you about my good buddy, “Mike.”
I’ve known “Mike” for almost thirty years. We were friends. We worked South Dallas in Vice and Narcotics together. We had “each other’s backs” and were involved in shootings, drug deals, federal investigations, vicious Jamaicans, crooked sheriffs, and, of course, I was there the night that he got shot.
I guess that you could say that “Mike” and me, well, we’ve “been around the block” together. His great charm was his quick wit and his ever-ready joke. I grew to love the guy.
Over the years, whenever I started to talk with him about God, he would always jokingly say, “People ask me about religion, I tell them that I’m a pedestrian, and that they should keep on walking.”
I already said that I loved the guy. But he was a blasphemer, a thief, an adulterer, a liar, a fornicator, and a lazy, fat glutton. He only cared about himself and his own immediate pleasure and gratification. He would cheat a friend, steal from his family, or try seducing some eighteen-year-old waitress if it was good for “Mike.” And “Mike” always rationalized his conduct. He was “talking care of the only ONE that is really important — ME.”
Our career paths split and over the years we didn’t keep very close. From time to time, I heard that he was having drug problems, medical complications from his gunshot wound (which was very near his spine), problems at work, marital problems, kid problems, house problems, money woes, etc., etc. It seemed as if every time somebody mentioned his name, he was in some kind of trouble.
A few years ago, because of some problem with his wife and a “family violence” incident, he was transferred into the same building where I was assigned. I saw him several times and tried to tell him about the Living God who loved him, about Jesus who died for him, and about the salvation that was freely offered as a gracious gift of God. He would always scoff, make some off-colored remark, and try to shame me with one of his many filthy jokes laced with profanity.
The last time I spoke with “Mike” was in August or September 2008. Deciding on a different approach, I tried to tell him that God’s judgment was serious, final and imminent. “Mike” was cavalier and disdainful. He rebuked me. He cursed. He told me, “If God don’t like me the way I am, then #!%* Him!”
I prayed for ol’ “Mike.”
I left the job soon after that. Only, his name popped up a couple of weeks ago. He was in the hospital having another back surgery.
I wanted to go and pay him a visit one more time. Maybe tell him about the Christ who saves, one more time. I even had a gospel tract to give him. Just one more time… but, I was busy and never got around to visiting “Mike.”
On Saturday, “Mike” died. He had a heart attack at home while recovering from his back surgery. His funeral was on the following Thursday.
I know in my heart that unless God had moved on him, that ol “Mike” is not in Heaven today. He is suffering anguish and torment. It’s too late for my friend “Mike.”
Is there someone you need to tell about Jesus TODAY?